Best Practices: Search Engine Optimization and Usability

Do you have pages with a lot of text and wonder if that is OK? Are your pages user-friendly? Do you want to increase your search engine rankings? Here are some tips to make your website better for your users and increase your visibility in searches.

Content-Rich Page Examples

The What is Biomedical Engineering page shows good use of headings in a page that has a lot of content. The sections don’t drag on because the headings break up the content. They also make the content more scannable for both users and search engines. Using the images to break up the large amount of text rather than placing them at the top or side of the page is another way to make the page more user-friendly.
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Posting Events to the University Calendar

There are two ways to post events to our Events Calendar:

General Campus Community

Calendar Admins

  1. Login to the calendar using the link in the header
  2. Once logged in, click the “Admin” shortcut in the header
  3. Click the “Add an Event” button

Please note that calendar admins have access to additional fields that do not exist on the public event submission webpage.

If you are a calendar admin, please use the event submission form available through your Admin login, as specified above.

Tips for Posting an Event

The following is a step-by-step guide for filling out your event information:
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Events Calendar Management

Our new Events Calendar has been a huge success so far, with over 43,000 views in the past month, representing an 85% increase in calendar use compared to last year. We have learned a few things along the way and want to explain a few changes that we have made, along with some best practices, and new features.

The Problem

Consider the following scenario:

  • Career Services adds Career Fair to the calendar
  • Many different departments want to put this event on their calendar as it is a very popular event
    • Some departments use the Contact Us form to have the event properly added to their own department’s calendar
    • Some departments duplicate the event onto their calendar
  • We end up with 7 copies of the same event floating around in the system, causing user confusion
  • The original event now appears to involve several departments instead of only the originator (in this case, Career Services)

Sounds like a nightmare, doesn’t it? Luckily, we have made some adjustments and have developed some ‘best practices‘ to alleviate this common issue.
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Please Attribute Sources to Migrated Content in Blogs

Attention web liaisons: if you copy existing content into your department’s blog from a web page or another source, please ensure that you have given credit to the author(s) by adding a byline. This policy applies to content that is authored by any member of the campus community (except for Tech Today), including individuals within your department, not only content that originates outside of the University. Plagiarism charges may be filed if credit is not given where it is due.

Thank you.

– UMC Web Team

Note: This was originally posted on October 4th, 2012.


Using Giving Codes

Your CMS website may contain a section listing giving opportunities within your department. Using specific giving codes entwined with the “Make a Gift” links on your website is a great way to encourage your website users (such as students, alumni, or others) to give donations to your department. Instead of simply providing links to the Office of Development’s online giving form, you can provide links that attach codes indicating specific giving designations (giving codes). This will pre-fill the giving form with specific account number and gift designations and will help ensure that donations are directed to the appropriate funds. A great example is the Giving Opportunities webpage of the  School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science website. Each giving link is for a specific giving fund.

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Good File Naming Conventions

There are a number of good tips to keep in mind when you name your folders, files, and web pages. These tips will help to keep your URLs short and specific to what they involve. Good file naming will also help with search engine optimization.

  • Don’t include spaces or other punctuation in your folder or file name. If necessary, use dashes in this manner: “my-new-file.pdf”.
  • Try to keep your folder or file name short while still making sense.
  • Use key words.
  • Use lowercase.
  • Pick a filename and stick to it. Besides our CMS restrictions, not renaming your file will keep the file indexed by any search engines.
  • Try to avoid using years, version numbers, or other naming patterns that date a file. Maintenance is reduced and user experience is sustained when you can just overwrite the old file with the new one each year and keep the filename the same. However, for archiving purposes, different filenames may be important (e.g., FY09). To ensure that your new filename updates properly, please let the CMS team in University Marketing and Communications know when you change a filename.

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